Atoms, Molecules, and Reactions: Quantum Mechanics

Fall 2019
Winter 2020
Spring 2020
Class Size: 8
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

physical chemistry

The full-time program Atoms, Molecules, and Reactions covers quantum mechanics, inorganic chemistry (in fall and winter), and thermodynamics (in winter and spring), all at the upper-division science level. Each of these subjects is available to students as an individual component by taking the variable credit option within Atoms, Molecules, and Reactions .

In the fall quarter of the quantum mechanics component, topics will include history and origins of quantum theory, wave-particle duality of light, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, operators, the Schrödinger equation, particle in a box, harmonic oscillator, rigid rotor, hydrogen-like atoms, angular momenta, Zeeman effect, variation method, multi-electron atoms, and application of the Pauli exclusion principle.

In winter, we will extend our studies to learn Slater determinants, Hartree-Fock self-consistent field method, atomic term symbols, spin-orbit coupling, atomic spectra, Born-Oppenheimer approximation, application of quantum mechanics to diatomics, potential energy diagrams, confocal elliptic coordinates, molecular term symbols, hybridization model, Hückel molecular orbital  theory, rotational spectroscopy, vibrational spectroscopy, vibration-rotation spectra of diatomics, and an introduction to Raman spectroscopy.

In spring, we will conclude our exploration in quantum mechanics with electronic spectroscopy, the Franck-Condon principle, fluorescence, phosphorescence, and lasers. Students will analyze the vibration-rotation spectrum of the HBr molecule and the visible spectrum of iodine to obtain molecular parameters and present them in two formal lab reports to demonstrate their ability to extract atomic and molecular parameters from the spectra.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

chemistry, physics, science education, and environmental science.


Credits per quarter

Fields of study: 

Students must have successfully completed one year of college-level general chemistry with laboratory and one year of college calculus (differential and integral).

Online learning:
  • Fall and Winter: Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
  • Spring Complete Online Learning - This offering delivers all of its instruction online.

Upper division science credit:

Students who achieve the expected level of competency will earn upper-division science credits in quantum mechanics.

Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 8

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - 9:00 am
LAB 1 054A - Food Safe Lab

Located in: Olympia